'Disposable Earth' Exhibit an Eye-Opening Effort

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

'Disposable Earth' Exhibit an Eye-Opening Effort


Shaw, Kurt, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Anyone who has seen the 2006 film "Blood Diamond" is aware of how deplorable human conditions can become around the issue of mining. But you don't need to have seen the film to realize that mining -- from diamonds to coal -- does have consequences, human, environmental and otherwise.

That's the point of the exhibit "Deliciously Disposable Earth" at the Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery, Downtown.

It grew from the efforts of one filmmaker, Pittsburgh artist and activist Carolina Loyola-Garcia, who, along with her sister, Gloria Loyola, created "Pascua Lama: A Contemporary Quest for El Dorado," a documentary filmed last year that explores the complicated dynamics of the mining industry in Chile.

Specifically focusing on the mining project called Pascua Lama being developed by the Canadian Barrick Gold Corp. in Northern Chile, the film was showcased Saturday at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, in conjunction with a three-part film screening related to the exhibition.

There is one more film planned for Feb. 22, Mimi Pickering's "The Buffalo Creek Flood." But before you go, it might be a good idea to see the exhibition to gain a larger context, especially in contemporary terms. That's because the works on display by more than a dozen artists from around the world really get across the notion of the problems at hand associated with mining of all sorts.

No stranger to controversy, Loyola-Garcia is the artist whose video piece was pulled from last summer's Three Rivers Arts Festival over objections to the nudity it contained.

Aside from screening her documentary last weekend, Loyola-Garcia has chosen not to show her own work but instead to organize this exhibition in an effort to shake things up about mining.

"Hopefully, it is something that more people will become aware of, and this show will generate some debate and discussion among the community," she says.

To her credit, she has done an extremely thorough job of it. Nearly all aspects of global mining practices are covered. The issue of blood diamonds is addressed with a larger-than-life sculpture- video installation of an African man (made of stacked cardboard) giving his lifeblood into a pond in the name of profit in the piece "Men, Blood Earth" by Israeli artist Itamar Jobani. And the mining of the human body for blood, stem cells and organs for transplant is seen in the installation "Cell Track" by the international cyberfeminist collective known as subRosa.

These two pieces are big works with big statements. But there are a number of smaller works with equally big impact, such as "Not So Charming: Miner's Perils and Enslavement," two gold charm bracelets by Jane Rainwater, of Andover, Conn.

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